Ahh, dumplings! We can taste them now: tender, chewy dough filled with savory meats and vegetables. Steamed, fried, or baked, could there be a more perfect, complete food? We think not. At Chewse, it’s dumpling time any time of day.
Filled dumplings have roots in ancient China, dating back almost 2,000 years. The story goes that a Chinese physician during the Han Dynasty found his neighbors suffering from frostbitten ears upon returning to his village. He asked his assistant to wrap mutton and Chinese herbal medicine in dough to make it more palatable for his afflicted neighbors. Centuries later, Chinese dumplings are still a staple to this day.
By now, you may be envisioning your favorite dim sum spot in the Inner Richmond, or the beloved gyoza at your neighborhood Japanese restaurant off South Congress. But these mouth-watering morsels aren’t limited to those found in China, Nepal, India, and the rest of the Asian region. If the internet is any indication of how vast the “dumpling” category is, then you’ll believe us when we say dumplings are a global food. You can find some form of filling-wrapped poppable delight in almost every culture in the world.
Poland, Ukraine, and Russia have their own unique variations on pierogis – steamed or pan-fried potato-filled dumplings, often topped with tangy sour cream and sweet, caramel-y onions. Italian gnocchis were the first dumpling-style food to be documented in the region, and continue to satisfy pasta-loving fiends (guilty!) today. And in South Africa, a few different sweet and savory dumplings soothes diners’ souls.
Wherever you enjoy a Chewse meal, you’re sure to enjoy dumpling time with dumplings from every corner of the globe. Here are some Chewse restaurant partners who serve up our favorite dumplings (read: all dumplings are our favorite).
Bao Dim Sum has been bringing Hong Kong-style dim sum to West Hollywood for nearly a decade. The Westside spot saves dim sum-lovers an East-bound trip on the 10 or 60 Freeways when the craving for a piping hot basket of siu mai and har gow hits. Even better? We’re delivering all their upscale and classic dishes straight to your lunchroom.
When it’s dumpling time, it’s hard for us to choose our go-to dumplings from Bao Dim Sum House because they’re all that good. You can look forward to traditional dumplings like juicy pork and shrimp siu mai and pillowy soft barbeque pork buns. Or, for Treat Yourself Tuesday™, we love their vegetarian-friendly white truffle and vegetable dumplings. Just one caveat: we won’t be pushing them around your office on a dim sum cart. But we’re working on it!
You’ve probably had Bini’s chewy and succulent Nepali momos at one of her many locations, Outside Lands, or even in your Chewse lunch! A La Cocina alum, Bini and her team have been churning out handmade momos for years. Her momos are so popular that they’re up to 21,000 momos made each week!
Momos originated in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal dating as far back as the 1300s. It’s a staple food and can be found in every restaurant, hotel, and family dinner table in the country. Bini’s momos are hand-formed to resemble the famous mountain of her native Nepal. They’re stuffed with spiced turkey, rich lamb, or a blend of tofu and vegetables for a vegetarian-friendly version. Topped with a tomato-based sauce called achaar, Bini’s momos are a meal all on their own. One bite and you’ll be hooked on her version of dumpling time just like we are.
The first Georgian restaurant in the Bay Area, Bevri has been making quite the splash since opening their brick-and-mortar location in Palo Alto. In her review of the soon-to-be staple, Soleil Ho likens the traditional Georgian khinkali to Chinese xiao long bao (soup dumplings). And eating them is very much the same: stab the outer exterior, slurp up the broth, and stuff the rest in your mouth. Now you’re in the dumpling time spirit!
You can’t go wrong with the rest Bevri’s menu, either! Enjoy their nearly-viral kachapuri, a fluffy boat-shaped dough filled with cream and cheese, with your mushroom khinkali dumpling catering. Rich stew-y meats and vegetables round out the menu for an intro to Georgian cuisine you won’t soon forget.
Brama owners, Taras Klitchyk and Tatiana Bogdanovych, opened the Eastern European restaurant in reaction to the popularity of their grocery store. Both the restaurant and the store feature delectable meats and treats hailing from the region including – you guessed it! – pierogies. The opening of both spots points to Austin’s growing diversity and interest in cuisines from all over the world. Count us in.
Brama offers ten different kinds of vegetable and meat pierogies, either delicately boiled or pan-fried until golden brown and crispy. All pierogies, of course, come with sour cream, giving the slightest bit of acidity to the rich dumplings. Sign us up for a big plate of their traditional potato and onion pierogies and we’ll gladly take a lunch break between meetings!
Before fast casual Tikka ‘n’ Curry landed in the South Loop, 9 – 5’ers had little options outside of pizza, burgers, sandwiches, and salads. Now, assembled-to-order curries over rice, salad, or wrapped in soft paratha bring big, bold Indian flavor to worker bees.
But the under-the-radar star of the show? Their golden brown samosa. They stuff spiced and turmeric-hued potatoes and vegetables into a tender dough and fry until crisp. Dip into cool and creamy cucumber raita and you’ve got a delightful side to enjoy with your lunch. Or, order up a platter for a satisfying happy hour snack to wow investors after a board meeting.
There are so many more we didn’t touch on – like Cassava’s gluten-friendly cassava flour empanadas or Roma Antica’s cheesy ravioli. You can truly travel the world and learn about each culture’s unique history through dumplings. No matter the shape or how they’re cooked, there’s a dumpling for everyone. It’s the great unifier and that’s why our love of dumplings runs true and deep. Hey, we might just change our mission to, “there’s a dumpling for everyone at the table!” Just kidding. Check back to see more of our dumpling catering picks in each of our cities! In the meantime, check out our Mexican catering restaurants or take a look at why (and how!) we do what we do.